A combination of high air temperatures, warm water, and phosphorus contamination in the water can create the growth of the blooms. Surface water affected by blue-green algae often is strongly colored (flue-green, green, yellow, white, brown, purple, or red) and can have a paint-like appearance. Under some conditions, blue-green algae can become so abundant that they form floating mats or scums on the water.
- Avoid areas with algal blooms because the blue-green algae produces toxins that are harmful to people and pets.
- Do not drink the water from the algal bloom areas.
- Do not swim or fish in the area.
- Do not use the water for cooking purposes until the blooms have cleared up.
The toxins can cause skin irritation and problems with the lungs, liver and nervous system. The toxins from the algal blooms have been known to be fatal to animals that have been exposed when they groom themselves by licking their skin or fur. If you or a pet comes in contact with the algal blooms, rinse with clear, clean water ASAP and consult your health care provider or veterinarian if you experience symptoms like diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting; skin, eye, or throat irritation; and allergic reactions or breathing difficulties.
To learn more about these algal blooms, to the New York State Department of Health website at: https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/water/drinking/bluegreenalgae/ or the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation at: www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/77118.html.
To report any algal blooms on the lakes, call 1-800-220-1609 or contact Yates County Public Health for assistance at 315-536-5160 or 1-866-212-5160.